• Food that is being held for service is at risk for
time-temperature abuse and crosscontamination.
• Operations must create policies for how they
will hold food.
• Policies should
consider the
• Cover food and install sneeze guards to
protect food from contaminants.
• Covers also help maintain a food’s internal
• Hold TCS food at the correct internal
– Hold hot food at 135°F or higher.
– Hold cold food at 41°F or lower.
• Use a thermometer to check a food’s internal
• NEVER use the temperature gauge on a
holding unit to do it. The gauge does not
check the internal temperature of the food.
• Check food temperature at least every four
– Throw out food that is not 41°F or lower, or 135°F
or higher.
– You can also check the
temperature every two
hours. This will leave
time for corrective
• NEVER use hot-holding equipment to reheat
food unless it is built to do so. Most hotholding equipment does not pass food
through the temperature danger
zone quickly enough.
• Reheat food correctly. Then
move it to the holding unit.
• An operation might want to hold food without
temperature control like these situations:
– Displaying food for a short time, such as at an offsite catered event
– When electricity is not available to power holding
• Note that the conditions for holding cold food
are different from those for holding hot food.
• You can hold food without
temperature control for up to
six hours if you meet these
– Hold the food at 41°F or lower
before removing it from refrigeration.
– Label the food with the time you removed it from
refrigeration and the time you must throw it out.
This discard time on the label must be six hours
from the time you removed the food from
– Make sure the food temperature does not exceed
70°F while it is being served. Throw out any food
that exceeds 70°F.
– Sell, serve, or throw
out the food within
six hours.
• You can hold hot food without temperature
control for up to four hours if you meet these
– Hold the food at 135°F or higher before removing
it from temperature control
– Label the food with the time you must throw it
out. The discard time on the label must be four
hours form the time you removed the food from
temperature control
– Sell, serve or throw out the food within four hours
• Bare-hand contact with food
– Food handlers must wear single-use gloves
whenever handling ready-to-eat food.
– As an alternative, food can be handled
with spatulas, tongs, deli sheets, or
other utensils.
• Clean and sanitized utensils
– Use separate utensils for each food item.
– Clean and sanitize them after each serving task.
– If using utensils continuously, clean and sanitize
them at least once every four hours.
• Serving utensils
– Store serving utensils in the food with the handle
extended above the rim of the container.
– You can also place them on a clean and sanitized
food-contact surface.
– Spoons or scoops used to serve
food such as ice cream or mashed
potatoes can be stored under
running water that is 135°F.
• Hold dishes by the bottom
or edge.
• Hold glasses by the middle,
bottom, or stem.
• Do NOT touch the foodcontact areas of dishes or
• Carry glasses in a rack or on a tray to avoid
touching the food-contact surfaces.
• Do NOT stack glasses when carrying them.
• Hold flatware by the handle.
• Do NOT hold flatware by foodcontact surfaces.
• Store flatware so that servers
grasp handles, not food-contact
• Avoid bare-hand contact with food that is
ready to eat.
• Use ice scoops or tongs to get ice.
• NEVER scoop ice with your bare
hands or a glass. A glass may
chip or break.
• If an operation presets tableware on dining
tables, you must take steps to prevent it from
becoming contaminated. This could include
wrapping or covering them.
• Table settings do not need to be
wrapped or covered if extra, or
unused settings meet these
– They are removed when guests are seated.
– If they remain on the table, they are cleaned and
sanitized after guests have left.
• Do NOT re-serve food returned by one
customer to another customer.
• Do NOT re-serve uneaten bread to other
customers. Change linens used in bread
baskets after each customer.
• NEVER re-serve plate garnishes,
such as fruit or pickles, to
another customer. Throw out
served but unused garnishes.
• Condiments
– You must protect condiments from contamination.
Serve them in their original containers or in containers
designed to prevent contamination.
– Offering condiments in individual packets or portions
can also help keep them safe. NEVER re-serve
uncovered condiments.
– Do NOT combine leftover condiments with fresh ones.
– Throw away opened portions or dishes of condiments
after serving them to customers.
– Salsa, butter, mayo and ketchup are examples.
• Prepackaged food
– In general, you may re-serve only unopened,
prepackaged food in good condition.
– These include condiment packets and wrapped
– You may re-serve bottles of ketchup, mustard, and
other condiments.
– The containers must remain closed
between uses.
• Protection
– Food on display can be protected from
contamination using sneeze guards.
– They should be located 14 inches above
the counter and should extend 7 inches beyond the
– Food can also be protected by placing it in a display
cases or by packaging it in a way that will protect it
from contamination.
– Whole, raw fruits and vegetables and nuts in the shell
that require peeling or hulling before eating do not
require the protection measures discussed above.
• Labels
– Label food located in self-service
– For example, place the name of
the food, such as types of salad
dressings, on ladle handles.
• Temperature
– Keep hot food hot, 135°F or higher.
– Keep cold food cold, 41°F or lower.
• Raw and Ready-to-Eat Food
– Typically, raw, unpackaged meat, poultry, and
seafood cannot be offered for self-service.
However these items are an exception:
• Ready-to-eat food at buffets or salad bars that serve
food such as sushi or raw shellfish
• Ready-to-cook portions that will be cooked and eaten
immediately on the premises, such as at Mongolian
• Raw, frozen, shell-on shrimp or lobster.
• Refills
– Do NOT let customers refill dirty plates or use dirty
utensils at self-service areas.
– Pathogens such as Norovirus can easily be
transferred by reused plates and utensils.
– Assign a staff member to monitor
– Post signs reminding customers
not to reuse plates and utensils.
• Utensils
– Stock food displays with the correct utensils for
dispensing food.
– This might include tongs, ladles, or deli sheets.
• Ice
– Ice used to keep food or beverages cold should
NEVER be used as an ingredient.
• Bulk food in self-service areas must be
labeled. The label must be in plain view of the
• When labeling food, you can include the
manufacturer or processor label provided with
the food.
• As an alternative, you can provide the
information using a card, sign or other labeling
• Bulk unpackaged food, such as bakery products
and unpackaged food portioned for customers,
does not need to be labeled if it meets these
– The product makes not claim regarding health or
nutrient content
– There are not laws requiring labeling
– The food is manufactured or prepared on the
– The food is manufactured or prepared at another food
operation or processing plant owned by the same
person. The operation must be regulated.
• Delays from the point of preparation to the
point of service increase the risk that food will
exposed to contamination or timetemperature abuse.
• To transport correctly, follow
these procedures:
• Food containers
– Pack food in insulated food containers.
– Use only food-grade containers.
– They should be designed so food
cannot mix, leak or spill.
– At the service site, use appropriate containers or
equipment to hold food at the
correct temperature.
• Delivery vehicles
– Clean the inside of delivery vehicles regularly.
• Internal temperatures
– Check the internal food temperatures.
– If containers or delivery vehicles are not holding
food at the correct temperature, reevaluate the
length of the delivery route or the efficiency of the
equipment being used.
• Utilities
– Make sure the service site has the correct utilities.
• Safe water for cooking, dishwashing, and
• Garbage containers stored away from
food-prep, storage, and serving areas.
• Labels
– Label food with a use-by date and time, and
reheating and service instructions for staff at offsite locations.
• Storage
– Store raw meat, poultry
and seafood and
ready-to-eat items
• Handle food prepped and packaged for
vending machines with the same care as any
other food served to customers.
• Vending operators should protect food from
contamination and
abuse during transport,
delivery and service.
• Check product shelf life daily. Products often
have a code date, such as an expiration or useby date. If the date has expired, throw out the
food immediately. Throw out refrigerated
food prepped on-site if not sold within seven
days of preparation.
• Keep TCS food at the correct temperature. It
should be held at 41°F or lower or at 135°F or
higher. These machines must have controls
that prevent TCS food from being dispensed if
the temperature stays I the danger zone for a
specified amount of time. This food must be
thrown out.
• Dispense TCS food in its original container.
• Wash and wrap fresh fruit with edible peels
before putting it in a machine.
• Which part of the plate should
a food handler avoid touching
when serving customers?
B. Edge
C. Side
• An operation has a small salad bar
with 8 different items on it. How
many serving utensils are needed to
serve the items on the salad bar?
A. 2
B. 4
C. 6
D. 8
• At what maximum internal
temperature should cold TCS
food be held?
A. 0°F
B. 32°F
C. 41°F
D. 60°F
• What item must customers take
each time they return to a selfservice area for more food?
A. Clean plate
B. Extra napkins
C. Hand sanitizer
D. New serving spoon
• At what minimum
temperature should hot TCS
food be held?
B. 125°F
C. 135°F
• An operation is located in a jurisdiction
that allows it to hold TCS food without
temperature control. How many hours
can it display hot TCS food without
temperature control before the food
must be sold, served, or thrown out?
• Which food items can be displayed in a
self-service area without the use of
packaging, sneeze guards, or a display
case to protect them from
Bulk deli rolls
Nuts in the shell
Sushi-grade fish
Cooked shrimp
• What is the maximum distance that
sneeze guards can be located from
the self-service counter to protect
food from contamination?
A. 8 inches
B. 10 inches
C. 12 inches
D. 14 inches
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